By: Brittany Ghiroli @Britt_Ghiroli
BALTIMORE,MD — It appears as if the Orioles organization is going to wipe the slate clean. Hours after Buck Showalter was dismissed as manager, news trickled out Wednesday evening that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette would not be retained, either.
The Duquette news, confirmed by multiple sources to MLB.com, has not been confirmed by the club, which has released no official word on the status of either Showalter or Duquette. News of Duquette’s dismissal was first reported by MLB Network correspondent Ken Rosenthal.
The partnership of Duquette and Showalter, while often a rocky one, brought the Orioles three postseason trips over a five-year stretch. But things soured quickly after 2016’s American League Wild Card loss, and the O’s went 47-115 this year, the worst mark in club history.
Showalter arrived first, taking the helm in August of 2010 after the team fired Dave Trembley and promoted Juan Samuel to interim manager. Duquette was hired to replace Andy MacPhail in November of 2011 after nine years away from the game. The new duo led Baltimore to its first non-losing season in 14 years in 2012, as the O’s won the AL Wild Card Game against Texas before falling in the Division Series to the Yankees.
Both were extended in 2013, Showalter signing a five-year contract and Duquette extending his contract four years to run concurrent with the manager.
Duquette became known for under-the-radar pickups like pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and a one-year deal for Nelson Cruz, both key components in the 2014 American League East-winning team, and Showalter deftly navigated an impressive bullpen that season.
The O’s reached the AL Championship Series that year without All-Stars Manny Machado, Chris Davis or Matt Wieters. Showalter won the 2014 AL Manager of the Year and Duquette took home the Sporting News Executive of the Year Award.
Showalter brought an air of accountability to a long-beleaguered franchise, though the club’s staple — a standout bullpen and exceptional defense — waned over the past few years. Many believe that Showalter’s slip-up in the Wild Card loss in ’16, when he failed to use All-Star closer Zach Britton in a loss in Toronto, was the beginning of his demise.
For Duquette, who entertained a job offer with Toronto prior to the 2015 season, there were missteps as well. Most notable is the seven-year, $161 million contract to Davis which comes under his tenure and at ownership’s behest. Smaller signings, like outfielder Travis Snider, and the failure to re-sign outfielders Nick Markakis and Cruz after the ’14 season, have also loomed large.
Duquette kickstarted the Orioles rebuild this summer, trading Machado, Britton, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Darren O’Day. He spoke of the team’s three-year plan at the time and the need to build up analytics and scouting. That will now fall on someone else.
Duquette, whose first GM job was with the Montreal Expos in 1991, spent eight years with the Brewers to start his career. He was with Boston (1994-2002) and is credited with helping to architect some of the Red Sox’s World Series winning ’04 club.
Showalter finishes 669-684 with the Orioles, a winning percentage of .494. His career record is 1,551-1,517, a .506 winning percentage.
Showalter was the third oldest manager in the Majors, behind the Cubs’ Joe Maddon and the Giants’ Bruce Bochy. This season was his 20th as a big league manager, including four with the Yankees, three with the D-backs and four with the Rangers. This year’s team was his first to lose 100 or more games.